Extracted from the website of Buddhist Vajrayana Charity Funds Association and translated (皈依) into English:

Taking Refuge

According toSeventy Verses on Taking Refuge 歸依七十頌》, “The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are the refuges for those seeking liberation.” Taking refuge is the only way to separate oneself from the pain and suffering of the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth (Sanskrit: Samsara). “Take refuge in the Buddha, take refuge in the Dharma and take refuge in the Sangha.” It is solely by practising cultivation in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching can one be able to counter perplexity and karma.Commentary to the Abhidharmakosabhasya《俱舍論釋/俱舍論自釋》(by Vascubandhu)states, “Taking refuge is precisely the beginning of the acceptance of all saṃvara (律儀).”

We seek liberation of our own as well as that of other sentient beings and it is, in fact, not an easy task. To be liberated is the purpose whereas the thorough unification of purity and no-discrimination minds is the outcome. Hence, the three types of persons, who practice asceticism (三士道), think that if a person desires to learn Buddhism, one must first search for a good teacher who is indeed a great spiritual guide with impartial wisdom. Under the teaching of one’s Guru, besides being intimate and respectful to the Guru, one should also practise earnestly on what one is taught. InSamadhi Sutra 三摩地經》, it says, “You should drive away all your own ideas but follow those of good spiritual teachers and shift to them gladly.”

Buddhists can cleanse or remove their own sins and faults by the use of correct methods.Santideva’s Compendium of Training (Siksa Samuccaya 集學論)shows that taking refuge is capable of purifying one’s sins since it is based on the fact that taking refuge is able to clean one’s cause to be reborn in the evil rebirth (惡趣). “If a person takes refuge in the Buddha, one won’t be pertained to the evil rebirth any more. Giving up one’s human body thereafter, one deserves to have a heavenly body.” It is thus obvious that the meritorious virtue of taking refuge is incredible. Therefore, theImmortal Drumbeat Dharani 無死鼓音陀羅尼》says, “The Buddha Bhagavan (佛世尊) is inconceivable whilst The Right Dharma is also beyond comprehension. The Sangha is marvellous whereas those having faith (in Buddhism) are amazing. In addition, the karmic retribution (Sanskrit: phala, 異熟<果報>) is also inconceivable.”